Parents of children with special needs often need a little extra support of their own.
“The most important job that a society has is to raise the children successfully and that every parent needs support and if they are looking for it, I believe that there should be a place for them to find it,” explained Karen Hills, of the Family Education for Child Development Centre.
The Dawson Creek Axis Family Resources, Supported Child Development and South Peace Child Development Centre have all worked together to provide a support group for parents and caregivers of children with extra needs.
On Jan. 15, all three organizations will come together at 7 p.m.
“We are quite excited … that it’s a joint agency effort. By doing that, we definitely hope to connect with as many families as possible in the community,” said Angela Reay, complex developmental behavior assessments intake and key worker for Axis Family Resources.
There will be better opportunities available if the three groups are working together, explained Hope Stuckless, supported child development consultant for South Peace Community Resource Society.
“I think in any community – especially a small community – sometimes resources are short and I think a lot of the time we service the same clients and I think that it’s important to work together and network, just so that we are offering the best service to the members of our community,” she said.
“It’s just a great way to share resources, opportunities, things people have accessed, different support and resources. A lot of people don’t know what’s available in the community so I think it’s a good way to network.”
According to Hills, the support group is about finding out what kind of help is wanted and needed by the parents of children who have special needs with the Dawson Creek community.
“We’re just seeing first of all if parents are interested in support and then what exactly they want. We don’t want to dictate to the group what they want, because we really don’t know. We want to make it their own group,” explained Hills.
The support group could be a way for parents to learn on each other and hear what others are going through.
“I think that sometimes when you’re in a small community and you are lacking certain services, being able to then pull from other people with experience who may have older children or been through the ropes themselves, that they can give you the positives where they’ve gone and what they’ve been successful with,” said Stuckless.
The feeling of isolation is often a problem for these parents, and this is something that this group might be able help with, according to Reay.
“The ability to connect with other parents that are facing the same challenges that they are, is just a source of comfort and just a realization that they’re not alone in what they’re going through,” said Reay.
Hills pointed out, that working on this together means that the different centres are able to support each other too.
“It pulls the resources of the community together. It’s a good opportunity for us to work together and not to duplicate services but to work together to provide them,” explained Hills.
For parents of children with extra or special needs, additional support is often something that’s helpful.
“I think that when you’re having to parent a child who has extra support needs or special needs, I think stress can be a very integral part of your day so I think getting together with other parents who are going through the same thing or a similar thing is important,” said Stuckless.
Hills, also explained why parents of extra need children may need some support in Dawson Creek.
“I think sometimes with the therapies that children have or with the extra energy that it takes to help them succeed, I think that parents need a break from that and support for one another,” she said.
However, Stuckless explained that from what she’s seen, the community of Dawson Creek has a lot of opportunities for families.
“The CDC provide programming, we provide programming through South Peace Community Resource Society, there’s the early learning hub, [and] we have childcare resource and referral.”